Friday, June 06, 2008

Etiquette Advice for Belmont Day

Saturday is the Belmont Stakes, and Big Brown will attempt to become only the 12th horse to win the elusive Triple Crown. In honor of this momentous occasion, the popular Ms. Equine Etiquette returns to Post Parade to provide her advice and wit for racing fans as they eye Belmont Park.

Dear Ms. Equine Etiquette: I’m an avid horseplayer and have followed the sport for many years. I like Big Brown but I’m no fan of his connections. IEAH’s co-chief executive, Michael Iavarone, is a fraud. Trainer Dick Dutrow is a cheater, having been suspended on a variety of violations in the sport. How can any racing fan even embrace Big Brown’s Triple Crown bid?

Gentle Horseplayer: Although one might find it exceptionally entertaining to watch Mr. Dutrow and Mr. Iavarone run one and a half miles around the Belmont oval in nothing save their jockey shorts, one must remember that the Belmont Stakes is a horse race. It is the horse that displays its talent and athleticism, and it is the horse that which the horseplayer cheers. Big Brown has displayed extraordinary ability and it would truly be a disservice to disavow his talent due to his association with a few individuals with questionable reputations.

Dear Ms. Equine Etiquette: I regularly take the train to Belmont Park on the weekends, however I’m concerned about the number of people who will be on the train on Saturday. I anticipate that the train will be crowded. It’s not that I’m a xenophobe, but I find the smell, particularly body odor, in the enclosed space somewhat bothersome, almost to the point where I can get a little dizzy and unable to concentrate on my Daily Racing Form. Can you recommend something to ease my discomfort? Don’t tell me to drive because gas is way too expensive!

Gentle Horseplayer: One would think that in these days of effective antiperspirants and other odor eliminating products, that the aroma on crowded busses, subways, trains, ad nauseam, would be fragrant and pleasant. Alas, one can offer few alternatives other than a brisk walk to Elmont or an afternoon watching the telecast on ABC, perhaps followed by a lovely bubble bath. Of note, Ms. Equine Etiquette applauds your effort to reduce your carbon footprint, even under malodorous circumstances.

Dear Ms. Equine Etiquette: I recently read that there would be no dime superfecta wagering offered Belmont day. I’m greatly disappointed. I have a bankroll of $6. What kind of betting is available for a cheap horseplayer like myself?

Gentle Horseplayer: Ms. Equine Etiquette is known to refrain from providing handicapping advice as well proffering money management techniques except that one should never wager money that one cannot afford to lose. However, given the uniqueness of the race – the historical significance of a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 – she would suggest that a small $2 Win wager on Big Brown might be in order. Obviously, a return of $3.10 would not be considered lucrative but the bragging rights for having wagered on a Triple Crown winner would be generational.

Dear Ms. Equine Etiquette: The Derby has the Mint Julep. The Preakness has the Black-Eyed Susan. What is the official drink of the Belmont Stakes? And would it be offensive to drink it out of a Dixie cup?

Gentle Horseplayer: According to the Belmont Stakes informational website, the traditional drink of the Belmont Stakes is the Belmont Breeze, a mélange of whiskey, Harvey’s Bristol Cream, juices, and simple syrup, that was created in 1998. However, since the tradition is not long withstanding, one can surmise that perhaps a more chic libation might be a dry Stoli Vodka martini with an extra olive or a Cosmopolitan, both of which would be considered exceptionally offensive, as well as boorish, if consumed from a Dixie cup.

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